The last 6 months have been rocky to say the least for business. All across the world companies large and small have been wrestling with a once in a lifetime event, COVID-19. The virus which originated in China, crossed the globe indiscriminately shutting down entire nation’s economies. No country was more effected by the Coronavirus than America.
Governors across the country instituted shutdowns of businesses in an effort to stall the spread of the deadly disease. These efforts to stave off the disease took the form of nationwide business shutdowns. Only essential workers were allowed to continue to work, which has had devastating effects on the national and global economy.
In addition to the economic effects nationwide business shutdown have had on the economy, business itself and the way entrepreneurs conduct their businesses have been affected. COVID-19 may have become the greatest revealer of the weaknesses in businesses since the beginning of time. It is those businesses which have been able to adapt and Pivot during this time of upheaval that will not only survive but will come out of the pandemic stronger and more focused.
Some people have for years poo-pooed Social media as an aberration and a passing fad. Now that the only means of connecting with potential clients is via Social Media every business is reassessing its view on Facebook, Twitter, and the like in an effort to stay relevant and in some cases just to stay afloat.
Customer service has always been something businesses large and small have in their employee handbooks but now more than ever reaching out to customers has become more than a couple of lines in a book.
“Your customers are still out there shopping”, remarked Daymond John, founder of FUBU the clothing manufacturer. “They are still eating 3 meals a day and shopping, but are they still shopping with you?’ Let that sink in for a minute. Customers did not just stop purchasing items on account of COVID. Companies must adjust to let their customers know that they are still alive and in business.
Supply Chain Dynamics
Estimates are that 40% of Black businesses have closed as a result of COVID-19 and that 86% Hispanic businesses have been affected on an alarming scale. Some of those businesses may have been a part of your supply chain. It is critical that business review their suppliers, especially now.
Business leaders are warning that if you are relying on only one supplier for your needed products you are in danger of being disappointed. Today business must be nimble and diversify their supply chain or risk being short when it is most needed.
Rethinking Your Business Plan
Many businesses are now relying on a workforce which is either remote or no existent. As a result, owners must go back to the drawing board and rethink their entire business plan. Do you really need an office of employees or can you outsource some of your work to freelancers? In some cases, the brick and mortar office are being replaced by a Virtual Office concept. Business will not be caught again with its pants down. A bloated roster of employees and product are a thing of the past.
Over-Leveraged and In Debt
When states governors issued the order to shutdown business only the largest of firms were able to say, “We can weather a couple of months of inactivity”. For the vast majority of businesses even being closed for a single week meant they would be out of business by the end of the month. They were over-leveraged or so heavily in debt that they were living paycheck to paycheck.
COVID had revealed the sensitive underbelly of being in business. Most businesses were literally a paycheck away from closure each month. It would not take much to expose how desperate most businesses were. COVID not only revealed the desperate situation, it put a Lighthouse glare on it.
The next few months will continue to reveal how much an effect COVID-19 is having on business in not only America but globally. This is a hard lesson to learn but like everything in life, the survivors will be stronger and more focused on not allowing history to repeat itself.